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Wednesday, February 10,2010

TURN IT DOWN: A survey of Lansing's musical landscape

Lerche tunes into ’Heartbeat Radio’

by Rich Tupica

Norwegian-born singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche (pronounced “lair-kay”) will deliver his blend of lush and mellow songs on Monday, Feb. 22 at Mac’s Bar in Lansing.


The 6:30 p.m., all-ages show will be an intimate solo set, with no backing band. Lerche, 27, received critical acclaim in 2001 after the release of his debut album “Faces Down.”


Lerche, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his wife, recently released his new album “Heartbeat Radio” — which received a near-perfect rating from All Music Guide




On this tour you’re switching up your live show. What will the Lansing show be like?


I am going to be all solo. I am going to be doing dynamic and intimate interpretations of songs from “Heartbeat Radio” and all the other records and projects I’ve done. It will be an intimate affair. I like the idea of contrast.


My album “Heartbeat Radio” is really densely arranged, sort of neatly structured — we spent a lot of time on that in the studio. Instead of trying to recreate that live with a big band, I like the idea of getting to the core of each song — get that intimate vibe. That’s the way I write the songs, that’s where they come from. In the studio you can go all sorts of ways, but I like cutting it down and getting back to the essence of the song in a live environment. That’s how I’ve performed since I was a kid: alone, onstage, with an electric guitar,
just trying to make the most of that. It’s really exciting.



How would you describe “Heartbeat Radio”?

I wanted to do a record that didn’t have any limitations, where I could explore different sounds. I really wanted to explore a lot of ‘80s stuff I relate to, the things I think are really beautiful about pop music from the ‘80s. Bands like Scritti Politti and Prefab Sprout, XTC, these British Pop groups — a lot of that is music I really love. For a long time I’ve been wanting to investigate that sound more thoroughly in my own music.


Obviously, there is a lot of terrible music from the ‘80s as well. A lot of stuff went awry or lost its way.


There was a great ambition in the ‘80s that bled over into pretension, but what the heck?




How does this compare to earlier albums?


In a way it sort of sums up a lot of different elements and styles that I like, and also stuff I explored on subsequent albums after “Faces Down.” I’ve done a lot of records lately that have been almost dramatic in that I’ve tried to limit the sound — I only wanted to try one thing and really explore something in the studio — with limitations. I sort of got tired of that. I had even done a soundtrack for “Dan in Real Life,” which was a lot of fun for me, but that also has limitations. It’s not an album, it’s music for films; it has a clear agenda.




How did you get the opportunity to do the soundtrack to “Dan in Real Life”?


That was just a lucky break, I guess. The director of the film, as he was writing the script, heard my music and he got really excited and liked it a lot. He came to see me in my apartment in the West Village, where I was living at the time, and we just really hit it off. He told me about the project and thought I was the only one who could do the music for his film and I had no choice but to trust his intuition.



Sondre Lerche


6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22 Mac’s Bar 2700 E. Michigan Ave, Lansing *All ages, $15 adv., $20 door. www.macsbar.com


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